Mugen Monday - 21st Edition

For Those Who Dare Dream.

We have returned after an adventurous year in 2023. As we walk into 2024, it feels inevitable for us to take note of the current Anime industry situation.

Simply said, it has been in our conversations (me and my teammates in Spiel Anime) that the quality of Anime on average has plummeted like an apple falling due to gravity. Yet in the search for what this ‘gravity’ is, we have found ourselves running in a circle time and time again.

Here’s the problem that we have identified, and you may disagree and state that the following is merely our subjective opinion - even so, Bertrand Russel, the famous logician, mathematician and philosopher once said that we always speak about that which appears to be true to us. Giving in to his wise words, I would like to state the following as something that appears true to me.

That there is an influx of ‘over-the-top brain-dead heavily fan-service oriented over-abused plot elements of an isekai genre’. Take for example My Instant Death Ability is So Overpowered, No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me! It makes you ask why even bother coming up with such productions. It appears that there’s an over-influx of the Isekai genre with trash, so much so that it may not be completely wrong to say that currently we are in an Isekai pandemic.

When the likes of Mushoku Tensei light novel initially spurted out, followed by some really brilliant Isekai stories such as Re; Zero, Overlord, and The Time I Reincarnated as a Slime, things were quite good.

It is my observation that there’s this tendency of industry to hail towards a particular plot element when a tried-and-tested method shows that such a plot generally works out.

Could it be that more and more authors are tempted to make a living by spurting out a general formula that’s more or less guaranteed to work for profit to a mediocre yet sustainable limit? Instead of going for something that sets itself apart in all dimensions of literary evaluation.

The Isekai genre nowadays seems to have a lot of harems incorporated within it, with perhaps an inkling to follow suit under the infamous Konosuba series. Attempts to recuperate similar levels of humour however mostly end up horribly. Cautious Hero, for one example - was horrendous, to say the least.

True comic relief has been incorporated by the likes of Gintama and Daily Lives of High School Boys (watch it here). Heck, even anime like Clannad Afterstory and Angel Beats has gotten away with distortionary (and I mean it positively) good levels of humour in mid-and-early episodes. Yet then why do these modern Isekai try hard and fail so much?

The answer lies unanswered. And perhaps it is in process, and as we venture further into this year with more Mugen Mondays, we will be a step closer to why the Anime/Manga industry has fallen so low plot-wise on the Isekai Genre.

Until then, read what we have to say about Solo Leveling and Korean Manhwas down below.

- From the Editor’s Desk

Rhytham Das, Editor-in-Chief, Spiel Anime

How do adaptations proceed in the Animanga/Manhwa world?

It’s simple, Solo Leveling Anime premiered this January 6. To begin a new year, perhaps with what is one of the most awaited Anime series of the year, was anticipated to be a special ride. And for most, Episode 1 did not disappoint.

But the venture of Solo Leveling Anime adaptation led to a few queries, not only by the team in Spiel Anime but collectively on the community front. Are we perhaps seeing a possible movement of Manhwa adaptations being included within the domain of the Anime industry?

There is the political heat, of course. Take for example the Jeju Island arc in Solo Leveling Manhwa - which as per the stories developed so far, the anime production team is overly cautious of.

Jeju Island is one of the islands in South Korea, and Solo Leveling Manhwa incorporated it as a place where a huge dungeon break occurs. The dungeon break sees Chimera ants breakout - and these are not as aesthetically pleasing as Hunter x Hunter’s meruem army. These are, for how much aesthetics is concerned, pure ants (both black and white, no racism).

Getting back to the point, the Jeju Island arc in Solo Leveling Manhwa witnesses a negative portrayal of Japanese hunters within the context of the story. As rumour had it, the Anime was said to have made changes to how such a portrayal would be made.

Plus, for the native viewers watching the anime on TV, the names were changed to Japanese. The Crunchyroll and international streaming variants did retain the Korean names, however.

Now, this actually isn’t the first manhwa adaptation in the Anime industry of Japan. Tower of God, Lookism and The God Of Highschool have been the leading names in this segment. Yet even prior to that, quite a famous manhwa was horribly adapted into a non-series segment. You may even have heard about this one - it’s about this certain vampire. ‘Noblesse’ stood as one of the first attempts of Japan to animate a source from South Korea.

Now Manhwas may be doing something similar to what Manga/Light Novel authors are doing in Japan. Simply said - a tried and tested model is out. What is Isekai in Japan, is the overpowered MC trope in Korea. Now this trope is further subdivided into Murim, Hunters, Reincarnation, and New Life tropes. Another such trope is Isekai as well, although no one in the fandom calls it ‘isekai’. It’s simply ‘oh another overpowered bus ride MC’.

With that set, there are actually some really freaking good Manhwa out there. The first example obviously has to be of Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint.

Every industry has its holy grail, which symbolises the epitome of story writing. ORV is one such addition. With a live-action adaptation already announced, only an Anime announcement awaits now. Whether it will happen or not, is still, of course, a speculation and mere guess-work.

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